Lactose intolerance

  • #1
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Is anyone else lactose intolerant? What symptoms do you have? Is it possible to develop lactose intolerance as an adult?

Basically, I never used to have any problems with milk products... until recently! About a year ago I went through a phase of cutting out all milk products out of my diet for health reasons, and this lasted about 6 months. After which I decided to drink milk and eat cheese and everything again... but now I think I may be intolerant to milk products! I havent figured out exactly what I am intolerant of... but I just drank a cup of hot chocolate 4 hours ago and now I dont feel so good! bloated... gassy... lol! yuk, sorry.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Sounds like my situation. I still crave chocolate milk but i know it will end with an emergency stop or two to the rest room. Mine began around the age of 25 but I didnt quite get the hint for a year or two following.
 
  • #3
alxm
Science Advisor
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Is anyone else lactose intolerant? What symptoms do you have? Is it possible to develop lactose intolerance as an adult?

It's the other way around. The vast majority of adult mammals can't digest lactose, including the majority of adult humans.

You should ask why some are lactose tolerant. The reason for that being a mutation that stopped the inactivation of lactase (the lactose-metabolizing enzyme) production in adults. This mutation occurred some time on the order of thousands of years ago, somewhere in northern Europe. (The highest rates of lactose tolerance in the world are in Scandinavia) It's a dominant trait, so it's been spreading since. So today, the majority of Europeans and North Americans are lactose tolerant. But like all mammals, until very recently in our evolutionary history, and only in some parts of the world, becoming lactose intolerant as you grow older is completely normal. (Because you don't breast-feed as an adult)

(Note that it's of course not a binary distinction between tolerant and intolerant either; people have different levels of tolerance. The gassy/bloatedness you describe is the most typical symptom for those who have it.)
 
  • #4
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It's the other way around. The vast majority of adult mammals can't digest lactose, including the majority of adult humans.

You should ask why some are lactose tolerant. The reason for that being a mutation that stopped the inactivation of lactase (the lactose-metabolizing enzyme) production in adults. This mutation occurred some time on the order of thousands of years ago, somewhere in northern Europe. (The highest rates of lactose tolerance in the world are in Scandinavia) It's a dominant trait, so it's been spreading since. So today, the majority of Europeans and North Americans are lactose tolerant. But like all mammals, until very recently in our evolutionary history, and only in some parts of the world, becoming lactose intolerant as you grow older is completely normal. (Because you don't breast-feed as an adult)

(Note that it's of course not a binary distinction between tolerant and intolerant either; people have different levels of tolerance. The gassy/bloatedness you describe is the most typical symptom for those who have it.)

Very true, and when you consider that in most cultures (no pun) the majority of dairy is eaten in the form of cheese or yogurt-like products, the consumption of raw milk is even more... out there. In addition to the GI symptoms, some people with allergies find that milk and unaged cheeses increase the volume and viscosity of phlegm... so the "far from binary" is completely accurate description.
 
  • #5
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man, this sucks! I like drinking milk! I didnt quite believe it before, but I guess all the symptoms point to it. but hey, I'm ok now - 8 hours after drinking milk I'm fine again. maybe its all digested now :)
 
  • #6
alxm
Science Advisor
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Very true, and when you consider that in most cultures (no pun) the majority of dairy is eaten in the form of cheese or yogurt-like products, the consumption of raw milk is even more... out there.

Yup, it's a fun observation. The biggest milk-drinkers in the world are the Nordic peoples, but once you get down the the Balkans, it's all yogurt and cheese. Continue in the same direction to the Middle East, and cow's milk isn't used for anything anymore, it's all goat or sheep's milk - which has a lower lactose content. Once you get to Southeast Asia, there's virtually no dairy at all, nor lactose tolerance. Evolution and genetics plays a part in our cuisine!

(Edit: It also occurred to me that you likely have culture affecting the evolution of this trait as well: Since there's obviously not much benefit to being lactose tolerant if you don't have animal husbandry. More people would probably get killed trying to milk wild animals than would survive off the milk :smile:)

man, this sucks! I like drinking milk!

Well, you don't necessarily have to give it up. There's low-lactose milk you can buy, which is okay unless you have a very low tolerance. And you can buy pills with the lactase enzyme, which will give you a temporary tolerance.
 
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  • #7
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Well, you don't necessarily have to give it up. There's low-lactose milk you can buy, which is okay unless you have a very low tolerance. And you can buy pills with the lactase enzyme, which will give you a temporary tolerance.

No! I am going to defy my body and genetics!! I made my body intolerant, I WILL make it tolerant again!!! I'm gonna drink milk! all the time! see who's the boss!
 
  • #8
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in fact, I am eating cream right now!
 
  • #9
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on a more serious note - yoghurt and cheese? are the lactose gone in those products? what about cooked milk? and cream?
 
  • #10
Evo
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One of the other reasons our ancestors weren't feasting on fresh milk products was no refrigeration.
 
  • #11
Borek
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on a more serious note - yoghurt and cheese? are the lactose gone in those products?

Lactose was oxidized to lactic acid.
 
  • #12
Evo
Mentor
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on a more serious note - yoghurt and cheese? are the lactose gone in those products? what about cooked milk? and cream?
wikipedia to the rescue.

Dairy products
Lactose is a water-soluble molecule. Therefore fat percentage and the curdling process have an impact on which foods may be tolerated. After the curdling process, lactose is found in the water portion (along with whey and casein) but is not found in the fat portion. Dairy products which are "fat reduced" or "fat free" generally have a slightly higher lactose percentage. Additionally, low fat dairy foods also often have various dairy derivatives such as milk solids added to them to enhance sweetness, increasing the lactose content.

Milk. Human milk has the highest lactose percentage at around 9%. Unprocessed cow milk has 4.7% lactose. Unprocessed milk from other bovids contains similar lactose percentages (goat milk 4.1%,[51] buffalo 4.86%,[52] yak 4.93%,[53] sheep milk 4.6%)

Butter. The butter-making process separates the majority of milk's water components from the fat components. Lactose, being a water soluble molecule, will still be present in small quantities in the butter unless it is also fermented to produce cultured butter.

Yogurt, Frozen Yogurt and kefir. People can be more tolerant of traditionally made yogurt than milk, because it contains lactase enzyme produced by the bacterial cultures used to make the yogurt. Frozen yogurt, if cultured similarly to its unfrozen counterpart, will contain similarly reduced lactose levels. However, many commercial brands contain milk solids, increasing the lactose content.[54]

Cheeses. Traditionally made hard cheese (such as Emmental) and soft ripened cheeses may create less reaction than the equivalent amount of milk because of the processes involved. Fermentation and higher fat content contribute to lesser amounts of lactose. Traditionally made Emmental or Cheddar might contain 10% of the lactose found in whole milk. In addition, the traditional aging methods of cheese (over 2 years) reduces their lactose content to practically nothing. [55] Commercial cheese brands, however, are generally manufactured by modern processes that do not have the same lactose reducing properties, and as no regulations mandate what qualifies as an "aged" cheese, this description does not provide any indication of whether the process used significantly reduced lactose.

Sour cream if made in the traditional way, may be tolerable, but most modern brands add milk solids. Consult labels.[56]

Examples of lactose levels in foods. As scientific consensus has not been reached concerning lactose percentage analysis methods [57] (non-hydrated form or the mono-hydrated form), and considering that dairy content varies greatly according to labeling practices, geography and manufacturing processes, lactose numbers may not be very reliable. The following are examples of lactose levels in foods which commonly set off symptoms. These quantities are to be treated as guidelines only.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance
 
  • #13
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Lactose was oxidized to lactic acid.

Mmmm... tart... tastey... god I love yogurt and aged cheese. :approve:
 
  • #14
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No! I am going to defy my body and genetics!! I made my body intolerant, I WILL make it tolerant again!!! I'm gonna drink milk! all the time! see who's the boss!

Glad im not around for the aftermath of this little experiment....
 
  • #15
turbo
Gold Member
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Glad im not around for the aftermath of this little experiment....
Clear the path to the bathroom!
 
  • #16
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Defying your own genetics... I think that needs to be added to the list of famous last words. :biggrin:
 
  • #17
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lol. awww thanks you guys!
 
  • #18
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Lactose was oxidized to lactic acid.

yes! this totally makes sense! - yoghurt is sour and some cheese has a sharp taste!
 
  • #19
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ok, I will do the experiment (in the privacy of my room) and let you guys know of any progress!
 
  • #20
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ok, I will do the experiment (in the privacy of my room) and let you guys know of any progress!

Heh... good luck, and um... wear diapers. :wink:
 
  • #21
lisab
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ok, I will do the experiment (in the privacy of my room) and let you guys know of any progress!

There's just too much intolerance today, and I think we should all work to become more tolerant. Best of luck, nucleargirl, I'm glad you're going above and beyond, trying to make the world a better place.

:tongue2:
 
  • #22
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There's just too much intolerance today, and I think we should all work to become more tolerant. Best of luck, nucleargirl, I'm glad you're going above and beyond, trying to make the world a better place.

:tongue2:

I agree Lisa! I think we should ALL do this! lol... wouldn't that be a funny... smelling world...
 
  • #23
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by the way I'm currently unemployed, so its ok for me to do this... I wouldn't recommend to start experimenting at work... lets just say, day 1 - no improvement yet...
 
  • #24
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by the way I'm currently unemployed, so its ok for me to do this... I wouldn't recommend to start experimenting at work... lets just say, day 1 - no improvement yet...

You know... this may not be the best idea... *wince*
 
  • #25
Look at this website for great nutritional information.
They explain the many health benefits of raw milk. One interesting thing is that many lactose intolerant people can apparently handle raw milk products.
 
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